GM could have made a plug-in hybrid car 38 years ago

GM was very late to the hybrid car market. They released a mild hybrid in 2006, their first full hybrid will be released in a few months and they plan to release a plug-in hybrid next year. Things could have been a lot different for GM when it came to hybrids. GM was developing a Stirling engine series hybrid concept called Stir-Lec in 1969. The text from a page from a 1969 issue of Car Craft magazine says:

  • "While the car's running, the batteries are constantly recharged by a small Stirling engine in the rear."

That car was very experimental but they had a plug-in hybrid commuter car almost ready for production back then as well. In the 1969 issue of Popular Science, a reporter says GM's XP-883 needed "no breakthroughs," just a nod from GM officials for it to go into production. The XP-883 was a plug-in hybrid with that ran on electric power at speeds below 10 mph and even had an option for switch between gas and electric mode. From the article:

  • "Wouldn't it be great to have a car that changed from electric drive for use around town to gasoline power for highway driving? Impossible? Impractical? No-GM has built one, and it makes so much sense that we feel they're missing a bet if they don't put it into production."
  • "You may think this little hybrid is pretty far advanced, but the fact is, it can be built today. It's not held up because engineers are searching for a breakthrough."
  • "You can run the XP-883 either as an all-electric, or with hybrid drive. Even if you select the hybrid, it will run on electric power alone up to 10 m.p.h."
  • "In case your batteries run down, the car is equipped with an on-board charger that can be connected to an external 115-volt AC source."
  • "But whether, and when, you'll drive one is something GM chiefs haven't made up their minds about yet."

I wonder what technology GM has in their labs today? It looks like they just dusted off the Volt from technology sitting in their labs for decades. Will we have to wait another 38 years to find out?

[Source: Make]

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